There’s a current vaping scare going on in America that initially started off as a harmful inhalation of water vapor, or at least this is what many people believed.
According to The Los Angeles Times, Cotton Candy, Unicorn Vomit and Gummy Bears were some of the vapor flavors teenagers were inhaling. Little did some of them know that the substance also contained nicotine, a chemical considered just as addictive as heroin and cocaine. Now the young people are hooked, and publications like The Times are zoning in on the Barack Obama administration for possibly not stopping something that could’ve been prevented.
According to The Times, the Food and Drug Administration tried to ban flavored fluids for e-cigarettes four years ago. However, over the span of 46 days, a group of more than 100 tobacco industry lobbyists and small business advocates met with White House officials as they debated whether to include the ban as part of a new tobacco control rule. The final verdict was that the Senior Obama administration officials cut the ban and much of the evidence supporting it, according to documents.
Officials explained to The Times that a cost-benefit analysis suggested that the financial burden on vape shops seemed to outweigh potential health benefits of the ban. Once the rules went into effect in 2016, sales for Juul, the most popular e-cigarettes, accelerated by more than six-fold, reversing decades of remedying youth smoking.
Around 4.9 million middle and high school students were using tobacco products by 2018, which was up from 3.6 million the previous year, according to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention.
According to the documents surrounding the FDA’s rule and the meeting with White House officials, experts were already worried about a vaping crisis in 2013. The CDC reported that middle and high school students’ use of e-cigarettes had more than doubled in just one year. The surgeon general explained that tobacco companies were known to use fruity flavors to get kids hooked, ensuring decades of product use.
Meanwhile, some e-liquid flavors were concluded to be poisonous in high doses, according to the FDA such as certain cinnamon-flavored e-liquids that contained the “highly toxic to human cells” cinnamaldehyde.
This did not stop the Office of Management and Budget, the largest office within the Executive Office of the President, from taking its first meeting with a critic of the FDA’s ban, Schell Hammel. She’s the owner of the Vapor Bar, which is a flavored e-liquid shop. Hammel and her lawyer submitted public comments that opposed the FDA’s rule in 2014, calling it “disproportionately burdensome to small entities.” Of the meetings that the OMB took that week, only seven were public health experts, while at least 44 meetings were with groups of industry representatives. At one point, an industry-tied think tank even presented an 82-page stack of data trying to debunk the FDA’s research.